After thirty-something years working with people and their finances, I have developed an ability to predict their financial future…usually after as little as a five-minute visit. I can even do it if I’ve never met you. Here are my predictions for your success in 2017:
- I predict… that if you create financial goals for 2017, you’ll increase your chances of significantly improving your finances by 20%. I’m reminded of the scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice, seemingly lost, reaches a fork in the road and notices Cheshire the Cat is perched in a tree. Cheshire asks, “Where are you going?” Alice responds, “I don’t know.” Cheshire says, “Then any road will take you there!” Most people have no specific goals and wonder why their finances are in such disarray. Financial success starts with goals and a plan for achieving those goals.
- I predict… that if you write down your goals, you’ll raise your chance of success to 60%. It’s not enough to just ‘think’ your goals. Research suggests that the mere act of writing down a goal significantly increases the chance of achieving it.
Here’s my recommendation: grab a pen and sheet of paper right now…don’t wait! Write down one to three simple, achievable financial goals for 2017. Examples might include:
- Reducing your debt by a specific dollar amount;
- Increasing your long-term savings and investing by a specific dollar amount;
- Starting a college savings plan for your child or grandchild.
Don’t just ‘think it’, write it down. It’s the act of writing that makes the difference.
- I predict… that if you place your goals where you’ll see them every day, your chance of success will rise to 80%. I use four-by-six index cards…one for each goal and keep them on my desk next to my phone so I see them every day. Each day ask yourself, “What can I do today to move me towards one or more of my goals?”
- I predict… that if you ‘automate’ your goals, you’ll raise your chances of success to 90%. The single best way to achieve a goal is to set in motion an automated system for achieving it. For example, let’s assume one of your goals is to save $1,000 towards your child’s college education. Automate your success by going to CollegeCounts529.com website; open the account; then have $83.33 automatically drafted from your checking account each month. In other words, “Talk is cheap. Action speaks volumes!” The single best way to fail to achieve a goal is to rely on your own self-discipline. Achieving financial goals often comes down to the simple choice between satisfying an immediate ‘want’ versus the delayed gratification of a future desire.
- I predict… that if you create a big enough ‘Why’ related to your goals, there’s a 100% chance that you’ll achieve your goal! There’s a saying, “If you create a big enough WHY, the ‘how’ will take care of itself.” Take a moment to look at the goals you’ve written down (you did stop and do this, right?). Why is each one important to you? Whatever your WHY is, write it down next to the goal. For example, we have a client whose parents never saved enough for retirement. They required financial support from their children and were miserable in their circumstances. Our client vowed to ‘do whatever it takes’ to be certain their own finances were sufficient that they’d never have to turn to their children for financial help.
I’m betting that if you follow all five steps you’ll be happy with your results. Have a happy and prosperous New Year!